THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

20 February ~ Dundee United are currently bottom of the Scottish Premier Division with only three wins all season, and relegation looks a foregone conclusion. But perhaps they can take solace from today’s opponents, Hearts, who returned to the top flight immediately after relegation in 2015 and now look set to be playing in Europe next season. 

It wasn't long ago that these two sides had some of the best players in Scottish football, and in 1986 they produced a thrilling game at Tannadice with United winning 3-1. It was the visitors who took the lead through John Robertson before the Tangerines hit back with strikes from Paul Sturrock, Eamonn Bannon and Iain Ferguson. As well as four well-taken goals, the match saw crucial offside decisions, missed opportunities, goal-line clearances, crunching tackles and flashes of brilliance. 

Ultimately it was to be a season of near misses for United – they overcame Barcelona and Borussia Moenchengladbach in the UEFA Cup but lost out to Gothenburg in the final. They were also beaten by St Mirren in the Scottish Cup final, Rangers in the League Cup semi-final and couldn't quite catch the Old Firm sides in the league as they finished third. Hearts, meanwhile, finished fifth in what was, aside from Robertson's consistent brilliance, a relatively uninspiring campaign for a team who had missed out on the title by goal difference the previous year. Adam Shaw

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